Vocabulary Terms and Things to Know
Individual working under a master to learn the skill/trade of a certain kind.
e.g.Verrocchio had learned his skills as all artists of the time did, by serving as an apprentice in the workshop of a master. Boys (the opportunity was
available only to males) began their apprenticeship between the ages of seven and fifteen. In exchange for their labor they received room and board and
sometimes a small salary. Menial tasks came first, together with drawing lessons. Gradually apprentices learned such essential skills as preparing surfaces for painting and casting statues in bronze. Eventually, they were allowed to collaborate with the master on important commissions. When business was slow, they might make copies of the master’s works for sale
over the counter. Verrocchio trained many apprentices in his turn, including a gifted teenager named Leonardo da Vinci.
Descriptive of art in which the forms of the
visual world are purposefully simplified, fragmented, or otherwise distorted.
Art created according to the belief that
the essence of art resides in a motivating idea, and that any physical realization or recording of this idea is secondary. Conceptual art arose during the 1960s as artists tried to move away from producing objects that could be bought and sold. Conceptual works are often realized physically in materials that have little or no inherent value, such as a series of photographs or texts that document an activity. They are often ephemeral.
What a work of art is about, its subject matter
as interpreted by a viewer.
The personal and social circumstances surrounding
the making, viewing, and interpreting of a work of
art; the varied connections of a work of art to the larger world of its time and place.
A movement developed during the early 20th
century by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. In its
most severe “analytical” phase, Cubism abstracted the forms of the visible world into fragments or facets drawn from multiple points of view, then constructed an image from them which had its own internal logic. A severely restricted palette (black, white, brown) and a painting technique of short, distinct “touches” allowed shards of figure and ground to interpenetrate in a shallow, shifting space.
style within a particular culture during a particular historical moment. Artists working in the same culture during the same time often have stylistic features in common, and in this way individual styles contribute to our perception of larger, general styles. General styles fall into several categories. There are cultural styles (Aztec style in Mesoamerica), period or historical styles (Gothic style in Europe), and school styles, which are styles shared by a particular group of like-minded artists (Impressionist style). General styles provide a useful framework for organizing the history of art, and familiarity with them can help us situate art and artists that are new to us in a historical or cultural context, which often helps understanding. But it is important to remember that general styles are constructed after the fact, as scholars discern broad trends by comparing the work of numerous individual artists. Cultures, historical periods, and schools do not create art. Individuals create art, working with (and sometimes pushing against) the possibilities that their time and place hold out to them.
an image meant to focus and inspire religious
During the mid–18th century, this division was given official form when painting, sculpture, and architecture were grouped together with
music and poetry as the fine arts on the principle that they were similar kinds of activities—activities that required not just skill but also genius and imagination, and whose results gave pleasure as opposed to being useful.
the way a work of art looks. It includes all visual aspects of the work that can be isolated and described, such as size, shape, materials, color, and composition.
1. The physical appearance of a work of art—its
materials, style, and composition.
2. Any identifiable shape or mass, as a “geometric form.”
The identification, description, and interpretation
of subject matter in art. (2.28)
An art form in which an entire room or similar
space is treated as a work of art to be entered and
experienced. More broadly, the placing of a work of art in a specific location, usually for a limited time. (2.40)
Descriptive of an approach to portraying the
visible world that emphasizes the objective observation and accurate imitation of appearances. Naturalistic art closely resembles the forms it portrays. Naturalism and realism are often used interchangeably, and both words have complicated histories. In this text, naturalism is construed as a broader approach, permitting a degree of idealization and embracing a stylistic range across cultures. Realism suggests a more focused, almost clinical attention to detail that refuses to prettify harsh or unflattering matters. (2.12)
Descriptive of art that does not represent or
otherwise refer to the visible world outside itself. Synonymous with nonrepresentational. Compare abstract, stylized. (2.19)
nonobjective; Like abstract art, nonrepresentational art developed from
the search for art’s essence in the wake of the challenge presented by photography.
art by so-called self-taught artists. These artists have little or no formal training in the visual arts and often live far from the urban centers traditionally associated with artistic creativity.
An art style of the 1960s, deriving its imagery
from popular, mass-produced culture. Deliberately mundane, Pop art focused on the overfamiliar objects of daily life to give them new meanings as visual emblems. (22.9)
The son of a painter who taught drawing, Pablo Picasso showed talent as a child and was surrounded by people who knew how to nurture it. Like a
Renaissance apprentice, he grew up so immersed in art that he mastered traditional techniques while still a teenager. He completed First Communion in
1896 at the age of fifteen, the year he was accepted into art school (2.12). After graduation, Picasso moved from Barcelona to Paris, then the center of new directions in art. There he experimented with style after style. The one
that launched him on his mature path would become known as Cubism, and it began to take form in paintings such as Seated Woman Holding a Fan (2.13). Picasso was part of a courageous generation of artists who opened up new territory for Western art to explore. These artists had been trained in
traditional skills, and yet they set off on paths where those skills were not required. Many people wish they hadn’t.
Descriptive of a work of art that depicts
forms in the natural world. (2.12)
A shaman is a person who acts as a medium between the human and spirit worlds.
styles shared by a particular group of like-minded
artists (Impressionist style)
A characteristic, or a number of characteristics, that we can identify as constant, recurring, or coherent. In art, the sum of such characteristics associated with a particular artist, group, or culture, or with an artist’s work at a specific time.
stylized Descriptive of representational art in which methods for depicting forms have become standardized, and can thus be repeated without further observation of the real-world model. Compare abstract. (2.18)
subject matter In representational or abstract art, the objects or events depicted. (2.24, 2.25)
French for “fool the eye,” representational
art that mimics optical experience so faithfully that it may be mistaken momentarily for reality. (2.15)